Pre-First Year Program

Banner image that is half blue with white text stating 2024 Pre-First Year Program July 20 - August 17. the other half of the banner has three students smiling wearing Pre-First Year Program t-shirts.

Each year, approximately 180 students begin Penn by joining the Pre-First Year Program (PFP). PFP is an academically rigorous and intensive four-week summer program preceding New Student Orientation (NSO). Program participants receive comprehensive support services that begin with PFP and continue throughout the students’ undergraduate experience at Penn. PFP is a chance for participating students to get an academic and social edge, while quickly becoming familiar with campus resources and the Penn community. The program, while academic in nature, encourages students to form lasting bonds of friendships through regular social and cultural activities. Students who have participated in the program report that it has made the difference in their life at Penn.

Participating Student Benefits

  • Preparation for the academic rigors of a Penn education
  • One-on-one interaction with world-renowned faculty and advanced-level graduate students in both academic and non-academic settings
  • Workshops on topics of interest to first-year students
  • Training in college study strategies and time management
  • Academic, personal, and career counseling by staff professionals who will work individually with participants throughout their undergraduate careers at Penn
  • A Peer Mentor who, for their entire first year, will help familiarize them with college life and University resources, helping to ease their transition to Penn.
  • Knowledge of campus resources
  • Opportunities to form a strong peer support network
  • Familiarity with the cultural and historical environment of greater Philadelphia
  • Community-building activities
  • An opportunity to build new friendships

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can participate in the Pre-First Year Program (PFP)?
    • PFP is by invitation: select incoming first-year students from all over the country, including internationally, are invited to apply to the program. Many of the 160-180 participants each year are students who are the first in their families to attend college; income-eligible students; students underrepresented in their field of study; and/or from large urban high schools and small rural communities. But, no matter what their backgrounds, the Pre-First Year Program draws a unique and talented group of students who are interested in getting a head start on their college careers.
  • How does the selection process work?
    • As there is only a limited amount of space in the program, the Admissions Office, together with the four undergraduate schools, make decisions on who is invited based on who they believe can benefit the most from this intensive, four-week experience.
  • What are the dates of the program?
    • The 2024 Pre-First Year Program begins on Saturday, July 20, and ends on Saturday, August 17. This program will take place as a fully in-person experience on Penn’s Philadelphia campus.
  • Are there any costs associated with PFP?
    • There are no costs associated with the program.
  • How much academic work will be required?
    • Once accepted to the Pre-First Year Program, attendance is mandatory for all academic and co-curricular courses and events. Students can expect to spend approximately five hours per day in classroom activities, plus homework, and co-curricular programs.
      Download 2024 PFP Course Descriptions (PDF)
      Students will receive one course unit upon successfully completing the Program and this credit can be applied as a free elective towards graduation requirements.
  • Will my summer savings/earnings expectation be adjusted in my financial aid award?
    • Additional grant funding will be provided to cover lost summer earnings. Students who have specific questions about their financial aid package should contact Student Registration and Financial Services at 215-898-1988.
  • Will the cost of traveling to Penn be covered?
    • Because this program runs directly into the start of the academic year, students are expected to use their travel funding as included in their financial aid award to arrive to the program. Students who have specific questions about their financial aid package should contact Student Registration and Financial Services at 215-898-1988.
  • Can I work during the program?
    • There is a time commitment of approximately six hours per day in class, plus additional time devoted to homework and other co-curricular activities.  As such, it is not recommended that students work during PFP. Penn replaces a portion of the summer earnings expectation in financial aid awards to accommodate this recommendation.